Disorder and Love: What We Do and Don’t Know

“Just because somebody doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with everything they got” –Author Unknown

Mental health disorders have a way of putting blinders on a person.  I have to say, there are a lot of things in this world that I miss.  Whether it’s because I’m wrapped up in my own head, or I have one of the different shades of the multiple pairs of glasses I don on, I know that my own perceptions are often distorted.  In short, I miss things.  Sometimes, I miss very important things.I am not one to take a hint.  So, one of those subtle things, such as love, often slip past me or whiz over my head.

More at: Disorder and Love: What We Do and Don’t Know.

Invitations to Narnia : 30 Days of Truth

Day 05 : Something you hope to do in your life.

As it stands, one can find me within the wardrobe amongst the coats, between the real world and my Narnia. This is not the Narnia as others know it. It is the absolutely surreal, ever shifting landscape, containing both horrific monsters and beautiful, majestic creatures. All of that world is tucked away, within a wardrobe, in an innocuous cranny of my home. Many unsuspecting people could stroll up to it, jam their coat in, and never give this unassuming wardrobe another thought.

Lunaria

But, this world is not meant to exist tucked away.  This world lives inside of me, wrapped up in an old world map, tied with a satin ribbon.  It waits to unfurl for all of the world to see.

Snapshots of this map are contained within every word, in each piece that I carefully create.  Some have been privy to view them, scanning the terrain, gazing upon the horrors and magesty.  Others have been lucky enough to set foot on the Terra Amici, The Land of Friends, specifically set aside to welcome guests who have braved the Sea of Aliquim.  And others, those closest to me, have journeyed through the deepest, darkest places of Lunaria.

I dream of the day that I allow Lunaria to emerge from the wardrobe.  This is the day that the earth will quake around me to birth Lunaria from within.  I will invite others to explore at will, without the requirement of the confines to Terra Amici.  To brave the fiery mountains, volcanoes spewing molten rock,shifting and shaping the landscape daily.  The mountains grow higher, only to be whittled away by the erosion.  Bask in Bad Wolf Bay.  Peer deeply into Mare Demersi, but still fear to tread too closely.  Lose themselves in Vac Saltus, and navigate the sullen, sunken lands of Val Mergullado.

All of this, one day will be accessible to all.  Lunaria will rise.  I can openly narrate the tales and history of Lunaria without fear of persecution and ostracism.  I hope to accomplish my quest of bringing this all out of the wardrobe.  I want others to see what my world, one world of a woman with Bipolar Disorder looks like.  It possibly connects to other places, to weave a global patchwork of personal worlds, connecting us all, to encompass every single person who has been hiding their own Narnia.

I hope to have a voice that can bring this all to the world.  And I hope to build the strength to do it.

Blog for Mental Health 2012 – A Hit!

A few days ago, I started a project I call Blog for Mental Health 2012.  I suppose, by now, the greater majority of mental health bloggers are aware of it.  I am amazed by the overwhelming response to it!  In this small amount of time, I have received a great deal of feedback, as well as the spread of it around the blogosphere.  I am nearly in tears by the enormity of it!

Thank you to everyone who is participating.  Through every writer’s participation, we are spreading awareness through our dedication.  We are openly saying that we support mental health awareness and are working our hardest to erase the stigma for every person who carries a diagnosis worldwide.  I am proud to carry a diagnosis today.  And I hope everyone who carries this badge is proud of themselves and / or someone else, too.

In addition, I’ve decided that I wanted to keep an active blogroll open to index bloggers who support Blog for Mental Health 2012.  If you would like to be on the blogroll, leave me a comment and I will be happy to add you to the list!

Currently, our participants are:

Again, if I missed a blog, please leave me a comment.  If you’d like to take the pledge and display your badge proudly, just leave me a comment with a link to your pledge page.

Again, thanks to all who took the pledge and continue to put the word out there!

Love the Way You Lie : 30 Days of Truth

Day 3 : Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Mutually Abusive Relationships
There is practically no literature on the subject of mutually abusive relationships, as this is only a recently recognized phenomenon.  While professionals, such as Dawn Bradley Berry, J. D. acknowledge that it occurs, few can agree on whether it was mutual in nature.

The dynamics of abusive relationships are significantly more complex than professionals seem to think.  In decades prior, society bred women to be docile, obedient, and complacent.  Most research reflects that in abusive relationships.  The man “attacks”, and the woman is “victimized”.

Unquestionably, that is precisely the manner abuse presented itself in my relationship prior to this one.  It began innocuously with casual criticisms and negative remarks.  A person is inclined to believe that a loved one only means the best, even if the words sting.  There was hardly a second thought toward the words.  Eventually, they grew into berating remarks, lambasting lectures, and generalized nitpicking over every action, behavior, expression, inaction, word, thought, emotion . . .

By then, I was already convinced that these heinous contortions were the embodiment of what I truly was.  I was already manipulated into believing I had been delusional about my own nature to begin with.  It was like being in a house of mirrors.  Every reflection revealed a new flaw.

But, a miniscule portion of my consciousness spotted the cracks all along.  It seemed I was not entirely convinced that this was the absolute truth.  Contradictions existed at everywhere in this fun house.  How was it possible that I was so stupid when my grade point average was far above his?  If I was such a flawed, inadequate, and vile person, why did I have so many faithful, loving friends?

At that point, the seeds of alcoholism were taking root.  I violated my own rules of drinking.  It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!  I’m not drinking alone if I’m drinking with my boyfriend.  Hair of the dog, best way to cure a hangover.  If I’m still managing to get to school and hold an honor’s average, I’m not drinking too much.

Liquid courage and comfortingly numb.

Naturally, I engaged the fire breathing dragon with my own fire.  Raw throat from screaming for hours, until one of us locked the other out, or I started packing a bag.  I was attempting to turn his own game right around on him.  The problem is that he was the gamemaster, and I was just a pawn.  I was always the pawn.  He could play me against me, and change the rules at will.

It was common knowledge. I would never leave.  I was already too terrified of the potential consequences.  Besides, all of my money was tied up in that apartment.  We had acquired a sizable amount of mutual property.  I was unwilling to sacrifice all of my gains, my gains, because I paid for them, to someone else.

Next, we moved into the isolation stage.  Suddenly, all of my girl friends were whores and my male friends wanted to get into my pants.  Your friends are a reflection of who you are.  No wonder you’re a completely stupid whore.  A drop of truth existed.  One of my closest friends was a teen mom, a stripper, and into drugs.  I didn’t see a whole lot wrong there.  She had a good heart, despite her mistakes.  But. . . maybe I was wrong.

We graduated college, lost our apartment, and moved onto some family property.  This was the turning point.  Here, we were completely alone.

I was a victim as much as I was an abuser.

It is one of the most difficult realities I have to face.

Prior to that point, I had never laid my hands on anyone with malicious intent.  And truthfully, I can’t pinpoint where it began.  Being in a perpetual state of inebriation has likely damaged that portion of my memory to beyond retrievable.  I can only recall certain events.  But, my mind will never be able to purge itself of the horror, guilt, rage, terror, hurt, and animosity I felt.

He started abusing me first.  Again, it started innocently enough with playful roughhousing that usually got out of hand.  Eventually, it turned into vulgar, degrading, often coerced, dangerously rough sex.  Then, it finally graduated to domestic life.  The transitions were so smooth that it was too hard to distinguish in the house of mirrors.  Sometimes you need to be put in your place.  You don’t know what’s good for you.

I became the monster that I loathed.  I was an animal, trapped in a cage, and emotionally, verbally, and now physically beaten for mistakes.  Sometimes, it was events that were beyond my control.  And, I gave in to my natural instincts.  I started fighting back.

I wanted him to feel the pain he inflicted upon me.

I recall a specific incident, the worst of them all.  We were drinking and playing World of Warcraft.  He was highly competitive, and I was entirely defensive.  As usual, he had remarks on my lack of skill and inadequacy in the team.  I started back in on him.  There was a back and forth that eventually provoked me to get up in his face.  He saw me coming and hit me in the face with a CAT5 cord.  The cord slashed my face and the connector rendered my right eye useless.

I pounced, but he knocked me flat on my back, with his foot on my chest.  He commanded, “You stay down there!”  I wrested myself free and attempted to get on my feet, only to be knocked flat and pinned again.  “Stay on the f***ing floor!”  Once more.  “I thought I f***ing told you to lay on the f***ing floor!”

I couldn’t free myself this time, and I angrily searched the floor for something, anything.  I grabbed a discarded vodka bottle and hurled with all of my strength at his head.  He jerked to dodge the impact, and I got to my feet.  I stared at him defiantly with my mouth twisted into a snarl.

“What the f*** do you think you’re doing?!  You could have f***ing killed me, you stupid b****!”

“I’m sorry I didn’t!”

He came at me, but I lunged for him, tackling him to the floor. I began mercilessly wailing on him as he antagonized me, “Is that all you got?! A fly could do more damage!” I slapped him across the face so hard that my red handprint swelled on his cheek.

He threw me off of him, but I was still in pursuit. My cheek burned, my eye puffed shut, and my rage incinerated every last shred of humanity that remained. I grabbed him by his shirt before he made it to the front door. He shoved me, but I remained latched to him.

“I’m leaving you, you crazy b****!”

“Take this with you!”, I spit at him and sunk my teeth into the flesh over his heart. He picked me up by my throat, viciously thrust me to the floor, and slammed the door. I laid there, coughing and gasping to regain my breath.

That wasn’t the end. The end didn’t come for nearly another year. And in that year, incidents such as these were commonplace. I could not legitimately claim victimization. I shared equal fault for the escalation of the abuse that occurred. Despite any trauma I have suffered, I am responsible for another person’s trauma.

That alone hinders healing.  Most of the world will never see themselves in that light.  I have more than glanced at the monster in the mirror.  I became it.  I abhor all parties involved in each and every single last act.  Including myself.  How could I possible forgive myself for such atrocities that I committed when I have personally felt the pain they inflict?

Medicine from The Doctor

As of late, my disappearing act has largely been a result of the longest running series on television and the largest Sci-Fi franchise in the United Kingdom.  Some of my fellow Sci-Fi geeks may have already guessed it.  If you don’t know, then you may just be living under a rock.  I have been obsessed with Doctor Who.

At first, it started out pretty innocuously.  I am an avid Sci-Fi fan, raised in a family of Trekkies and long-time Doctor Who fans.  I recall my parents watching Doctor Who weekly in the evenings.  It would bore me to death and I’d end up going to bed early.  I detested it’s airing.  And now, I’m hooked.

Why the sudden change of heart?

Imagine watching this brilliant, lovely, quirky man traveling through time and space with his various companions.  It’s quite a spectacle to behold.  Alternate universes, twisting story lines, all contingent upon past and present events.  Even events that occur in the future that are yet to happen come into play.  When you are with The Doctor, anything is possible.  That’s the beauty of Doctor Who.

Today, I found myself searching for a sonic screwdriver replica for C.S.  He, too, is absolutely obsessed with the show.  In fact, he was so enthralled by it that he went out and bought a Doctor Who-esque coat.  I wanted to try to get him one for Christmas, but there’s no way that’s going to happen.  Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

In the meantime, I sidetracked with the plethora of Doctor Who backstory that exists from the previous series.  I came upon a timeline of the history of the various incarnations of The Doctors, when they appeared in the series, and who their companions were at the time.

In fact, there was a clever graphic I found:

Doctor Hoo!

And then I saw it.  The 4th Doctor, Tom Baker.  I remembered Tom Baker very vividly from my childhood.  He was the only Doctor that ever existed to me.  He had this curly, puffy hair, smashed down by a fedora he wore.  And there was the long, autumn colored scarf.  It was tangled all over the place and hung to the ground.  He was quite a character.

I was prattling on and on about my recent Doctor Who findings to C.S. in the van-buggy when POOF! – the realization hit me.  Certain things about this man had been subconsciously affecting me for years.  The scarves.  I’ve always been obsessed with the multicolored scarves.  And the coats.  There is nothing more sexy on a man than a trench coat.  There was always this idea in my head that quirkiness and eccentricity were preferred traits.  It conveyed a certain cleverness, imagination, and intelligence.

The 4th Doctor has been there all along!  The only thing that brought it to the surface was my admiration and fascination with the 10th Doctor.  Fantastic!

But, I can’t help but wonder – what else has Doctor Who left subconsciously dormant in my mind?

What secrets lie beyond?

Imaginary Enemies

Re-pressed from Imaginary Enemies on A Canvas of the Minds.

I should have figured that when the monologue became a dialogue that I was in some serious trouble. “The Voice” started to speak up again.

“The Voice” may be experienced uniquely for each individual. It may just be a whisper, a buzz, or a feeling. No matter, each person Dx or not has “The Voice”. In my personal experience, “The Voice” is literally that, a voice. It comes from within myself, as if I am host to two conscious minds in one physical being. It is not a hallucination, as I recognize the existence within myself. They coexist and are more than aware of the other “personality”, if you will.

I am familiar with my own conscious mind which produces these monologues that I translate to print. It forms the words milliseconds before they come to life. It repeats important information to commit it to short-term memory. It can take on a physical manifestation to transport me into the past, with all of my senses intact.

“The Voice” was born from the same conscious mechanisms that produces monologues. Suddenly, dialogues existed. These two conscious voices in my mind would deliberate everything. Sometimes, they would viciously argue. The noise was deafening. I was a woman divided.

“The Voice” fueled the fire. In depression, it perpetuates incredible delusions. It whispers, “You know you are worthless. Look at all of your failures. That’s why no one loves you, not even your family. Everyone is better off without you.”

It blames my action or inaction for all of the woes in the world. It convinces me that I am responsible for creating misery in and burden on my loved ones. All of my greatest fears are realized. My delusions are reinforced and substantiated as being reality.

In hypomania, it overcomes the other conscious voice. It is strong enough to occasionally be the only voice. It rationalizes each decision and refuses responsibility for the consequences. “I am the most awesome person in the world. They are only jealous, because I am superior. I am amazing at everything and have nothing to prove to everyone. This should be common knowledge by now.”

I become above the rules, because I alone am the exception. I am invincible, and “The Voice” reminds me at every impulse. I explode when enraged and it’s the other person’s fault. “We were having a good time and they had to be a jerk. Give it to them!” I go on a rampage because people have personally wronged me.

At one point, in the worst of the fits with The Voice, I deemed the dialogue as having three participants. The Voice had split and fused with a portion of my moral, conscious mind. And in between, there I was, watching the battle rage almost totally outside of my physical being.

My physical form started containing a world of it’s own. Everything from the outside went through a perceptual filter. It often came out too distorted to make heads or tails of what the truth actually was. How can one possibly know the reality of their own life when it Is completely relative?

The noise in my brain was overwhelming, sometimes to the point of maddening. Always, even when The Voice didn’t have an observation or remark, there was the background static of a detuned radio. Occasionally, it would pick something up, but it was always like being on the edge of a broadcast zone. Outside sounds would echo, a biting remark, a provocative line in a song, etc. It made focusing nearly impossible.

Eventually, these dialogues passed through my lips, as if they could no longer be contained in such a small space. I attempted to channel it into my writing, but I would have spent my entire day with my head buried in a journal. Sometimes, I did. I would allow these dialogues to exist in tangible world if it meant my head would be a little less noisy.

I made sure it always occurred while I was alone. At least I had that much control. I was always on foot in those days. Many of these conversations came to life en route to and from work – a brisk mile walk both ways. And I’m kind to call them conversations. Often, they were confrontations and / or arguments.

Sometimes, I, or at least some version of me, would beg it to shut up. Leave me alone!!!

How can I go away when I AM you?!

When I started Lamictal, my mind was suddenly silent. No static, or echos. I could actually fully be present in the moment I lived in. And The Voice suddenly disappeared. Oddly enough, I was scared. All of those things had been present for so long, I felt as if my brain had been deadened.

The Voice couldn’t be stifled. When I found myself engaging in silent dialogues once more, I knew something was amiss. More medication, and it was silent once more.

Today, The Voice plagues me occasionally. Typically, it is during a depressive episode, as it began before. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen during a hypomanic episode. But, The Voice has a low volume at best.

I now have clarity if thought and quality of reason to beat The Voice at it’s own game. You are not real, and I am not listening.

Oh, Fluck!

With enough wits, a person might be clever enough to deduce the meaning of this Luluism without the aid of a definition.

Fluck (fah-lah-uck): a combination term used as an alternative to a swear. It is used to describe an intense negative reaction. Derived from “f***ing luck”.

As in: Oh, fluck! I forgot to pick up my Lamictal from the pharmacy! On a Sunday night. When they close early. And I won’t have enough time to grab them until after work on Monday.

Fluck.

This realization didn’t hit me until I was going to make the attempt to refill my weekly pill case. I finally broke down and started using one. A lot of good it did me. I ran out on a Saturday.

I stood there and stared at the empty container in disbelief that I could have forgotten something so very important. I have taken my Vitamin L daily, without fail for so long. I just plain forgot.

Understandably so. Production on Thursday, sleigh ride in the van-buggy on Saturday. I don’t believe I even called it in until Saturday night. Sunday morning mass and Sunday afternoon family function. In all of that travel, I passed the pharmacy at least four times!

Oh well. A day without Lamictal never hurt me before.

Quite reassuring now that I’m in the hot seat.

I woke up late, and seemingly amongst chaos. I could not wake up this morning for the life of me. I literally stumbled around, trying to get my footing. I never did find it, honestly.

C.S. left for work, and everything was mostly typical. I should have felt it happening. Slowly, the reigns slipped out of my grip. The horses started running more freely. The ride became bumpier. When I did notice, it was too late. Each time I’d made a solid grab, I opened my fist to have them fly further away.

I dare say that my emotional stability is crumbling under the very path I’m walking on!

By afternoon, I was spitting certain phrases like a bad taste in my mouth. “I hate my effing life!” “That irritates the hell out of me!” “Shut up!” It’s as if I were dangling by a flailing string. The wind would shift and suddenly, “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I hate myself for being so horrible.”

Over little things. T.D. got into my makeup and my jewelry again today. He has made a real mess of things in my room. I was infuriated. Makeup and jewelry are expensive!!! But – they are just stuff. The world was ending! I couldn’t find my good headphones where I can actually hear music and conversations on my Blackberry! And I carried on about it to C.S. for at least fifteen minutes of his break.

Yup, there are plenty of reasons to hate myself today.

Then, the ultimately bad phrase popped into my head. I want to kill myself. Red flag. And I threw it out there on my playing field, oh so silently. I don’t want to rouse suspicion. I am at work after all.

I should have realized this was going to be the result at the very time I skipped the dose. Not even an hour later, I had the best sex of my life. It was complete with saturation of every sense from every nerve. My brain was throwing out visual and auditory stimulation that it doesn’t usually do. I don’t know why I don’t find the clearest clues, right in front of my face.

Live and learn.

Don’t sound the alarm. I’ll be fine, but it is my top priority to get some medicine into me, fast. Something is going very, very wrong. But, until at least 7PM, I’m stuck in the hell of my own making.

Lesson learned. Don’t skip your medicine. Ever.

Fast-Forward to Showtime!

It is a stressful and moderately sleepless period of time for me. It always is before a show.

My official job title is Music Director. Any and all things musically related go through me. This includes the winter and spring musicals. In fact, the explicit purpose of hiring me was 1.) To serve as a musical director for all productions and 2.) To fulfill a Keystone Stars Requirement.

Since, my duties have expanded exponentially. I am a substitute for general education. I have taken all things surrounding fine arts. I am partially a drama teacher. I do some office jockeying. And now, I’ve taken on graphic media and design.

I wish I could post my latest masterpiece, but I’d out myself so fast. It would be one thing if someone else stumbled upon this, as it is. There is still a considerable shadow of a doubt. There are dozens of programs like mine in the city. I could be anyone. Even as I watch Lulu and Em bounce off of each other, there is still no overlap. Not yet, and hopefully I won’t ever have to worry about it.

And this flash in my mind is among the scattered puzzle pieces that leaves a hint: At this point, so what if anyone made the connection? Puh. Yeah, I’m so sure that will be my thought while I’m watching my life go up in flames.

I spent my entire Monday night slaving over that program. I spent all of Tuesday fiddling with the format, stapling the prints, and making handwritten corrections on all 100 copies. Meanwhile, I was lugging a stapler the size of a tripod with me, and two hundred pages of paper.

My mind and my body should be spent.

My hands and my arms hurt like hell. I’m sucking down Ibuprofin and benzos. And yet, I find myself taking on more, and more projects!

In fact, in the last week, I’ve taken on more than I have in the last six months.

I interviewed for a second job on Friday. That went amazingly well. A new grocery store chain is opening up, and I wanted to try to get in on the ground floor. I have a cumulative three years in retail, two and a half in two competing grocery stores. I know my way up, down, and sideways – from registers to stock to pricing. I never thought it would amount to anything, because I’ve always been at the bottom of the food chain. But, this manager wanted me bad. “I could use a person with your experience and education.” Who knew?

I am now officially a Sunday School teacher again. My aunt is having surgery and passed the torch.

I’ve been marketing for a second-hand shop.

And today, I’ve taken on advising and web administration of a fledgling music site of a friend.

Hypomania? Again?

Atypical at best. Overly ambitious. Check. Social. Check. Sexual. Check. Sleepless? No. I was so done last night that I apologized to C.S. for checking out so early.

I can’t make heads or tails of it. And I’m anxious at the thought of exploiting this.

Also, I want to offer my profound apologies to anyone or anything I’ve neglected. And an explanation to go along with it.

In Bricked, I detailed how Tallulah, my Blackberry Curve 9300, took a dive. It required me to completely wipe the device and reinstall.

What a pain in my thumbs! I’ve had to reinstall all of my apps. Everything was going fine until I went to install the Gmail app. Apparently, they stopped offering it in October!

What’s the problem? – you may ask. Well, I lead a double-life of sorts. More like a triple-life really. I have two personal emails and a work email that have always been hooked up to Tallulah. Lulu was through the Gmail App. It made everything very accessible and clean. Now, I’ve had to hook Lulu up to Tallulah, and divert it to a different folder with different alerts. (I get a lot of emails in a day).

In hooking it up to my device, I have only received new emails since Sunday evening. I have a lot of loose ends. Apologies if you are currently under the rug. I’ll get it taken care of throughout the rest of the week.

High School Never Ends: Unfair Game

Sing it again!

Four years you think for sure
That’s all you’ve got to endure
All the total dicks
All the stuck up chicks
So superficial, so immature
Then when you graduate
You take a look around and you say HEY WAIT!
This is the same as where I just came from!
I thought it was over!
Aww that’s just great!

I had theorized for years that high school was boot camp for life. Some people are assigned to the hot zone, and others end up behind a desk. And most of the time, just like in the military, you don’t end up in the place you signed up for. Usually, the place you end up wasn’t quite as bad as training.

I was mistaken.

High school is actually the kiddie pool for life.

When I was in high school, all I wanted was to graduate and get the eff out of there. In fact, I wanted out so badly that I dropped out at 17, entered the pilot cyber-charter school, and finished out 11th grade that way. The only reason I was coaxed back to my high school was the fact that I could enroll in five music classes and only needed one gym. It was way better than the option of a purely academic senior year.

I missed a record amount of days that year. A whopping sixty-two, when the fail limit was twenty-one. I missed almost three times the maximum amount. I actually missed one day over half of the school year.

(It was a miracle I graduated at all).

Yes, I had a severe case of senioritis. It was more than that. The whole ordeal of high school made me ill. It was a jungle of mini-adults, preying on one another in the attempt to establish social superiority. All for what? To be openly adored and envied by many and secretly despised by everyone that was trampled?

I was easy prey, far down the food chain of the high school food chain. Don’t be mistaken. I was not at the very bottom. I created a new breed of outcast and made it fashionable. It was a fabulous alternative to being hated for being a poser. I flaunted my flaws in hilarious self-loathing. It was quite a show to behold. Best of all, I helped push it so far from popular culture that it was enticing. A geeky, intelligent rebel? Who knew?!

It caught on. This was before emos existed, during the time of goths. I was neither. Sure, I was adorned with black clothes covered in pins. But, I was determined to give a permanent home on the social ladder to every kid that didn’t quite fit the mould. I wanted to challenge every social norm, and show everyone that different was actually better.

Just that alone put me in the line of fire. But what could they possibly gossip about that I hadn’t already broadcasted myself? I was poor as hell! My family was an absolute wreck! It was clear to see that I was a fat band geek. My wild eyes glared at the cliques behind thick lenses. Plainly said, I was a crazy freakshow!

I lied. I smiled when people gossiped about me. I’m too poor to afford new clothes every school year. I’m a whore, because I have sex. I see a crazy doctor and take crazy meds. My mother is a drunk, my brother is a tard, and my father is crazier than me. I don’t actually have friends, I have followers and worshippers. I acted like I fed on it, and turned to preach to my flock to do the same.

Truthfully, I felt like less than garbage. There was a drop of truth in every story. I felt ugly and ostracized. I didn’t like people’s perceptions of me, but I knew I never would. I should at least put on a show! Turn your own self-loathing and insecurities into something inspirational to some and controversial for most. It worked for Howard Stern, right?

Every jock, priss, prom queen, cheerleader, dancer and intellectual took their own shots at me. We were so far removed toward the end that it didn’t really affect me anymore. The shots from the artists, thespians, and fellow musicians hurt the most. You would think there would be at least a little bit of camaraderie. I suppose it is every (wo)man for themselves in the urban jungle.

I didn’t even plan on walking at graduation. My plan was to finish finals and disappear into the ether. But, parents get what parents want. I walked across that stage decorated with honors, and extreme gratitude that all of that was behind me.

Today, I learned that it is still exists, maybe even more so, right ahead of me.

A Dangerous Game

The night before last, I had this dream that was absolutely horrific.  Stay with me if you can.  This is a little long.

The dream was like a video game. It started out with me receiving instructions from someone. They said that I’d have a delivery in the mail. It was a very precious item that many people would be after me for. Namely a woman. I don’t remember her name.

Next thing I knew, I was either in a large apartment complex or a bad motel. I’m not sure. I’m thinking bad motel, because I don’t recall seeing any of my belongings there. It was a tiny place where the living room and the kitchen shared the same open space. Everything was drab and kind of nondescript. There was an antique style armchair – dark wood and burgundy velour fabric. That was about all that could fit into that tiny room. Right across from the door was a huge, open closet, with only a lone hanger on the rack. It looked extremely lived in. The TV was one of those old style TV’s that had a wire clothes hanger for an antenna. (Those don’t even function as televisions anymore). That was against the wall between the two doors.

I was standing there, peeking out of the glass side door that led to a huge wooden patio that was completely enclosed. It was an entire floor up, and the stairs leading down were precariously steep. Beyond that, all I could see were trees, mostly palm trees. In the very far distance, I saw what might have been a coast line, but it was misty. I couldn’t really see a whole lot.

Then, the doorbell rang. I let the heavy drape, maybe yellowish with green palm trees embroidered into them. It was dark in the room, and the room didn’t have any other windows but the big, glass, sliding door. I carefully edged my way to the front door and asked who it was. He said it was the delivery man. I told him that I didn’t want the package, but he insisted. There was no return address. I unlatched the chain on the door, unbolted it, and opened it. I saw outside to notice that the motel was in an L shape, with the black iron railings and only two exits to the parking lot that existed within the L, one on each end. He wheeled in a huge box, and practically vanished.

A huge box, great. Now everyone in the area has seen it. But that was probably the point. I opened the box to find it filled with peanuts. Tons and tons of white packing peanuts. I dumped the box out, realizing that the dolly was a ruse. Even the delivery guy was in on it. At the bottom, I find some kind of metal item. It was symbolic of something, but I can’t quite remember what it looked like. Maybe a metallic cross. It looked old and worn. It was larger than my palm, but not too large to carry in a fist. I clenched it in my fist, and headed for the patio.

I practically jumped down the stairs. I knew that someone set me up, and that they probably watched the whole thing go down. I hit the cement, and I began running through the trees.

I knew there was someone on my tail. I came out of the trees and onto a beach. I turned around, and I saw her in the distance. She had jet black, shiny hair, and dark eye makeup. She wore all black and had two thugs with her that were looking for me. I went into a crowd of beach goers. They were all just kind of laying there, soaking up the sun, despite the mist that surrounded the coast line area. Nobody seemed to mind me running through the area, kicking up sand. I was hoping to get to the mist before she noticed me. Or else, she wouldn’t be foolish enough to shoot into a crowd.

I’m going to guess what came next was a warning shot. I wasn’t hit, but it was a single fire from a handgun. I kept running for the mist. And now, she was hot on my tail. Her thugs stayed behind, probably to guard any area that I could use to get out. I ran, and my legs turned to jello and my body was heavy. My lungs ached with every gasp. She continued to fire at me with the pistol. I got into the mist and ran down the shore. I still couldn’t see the water because the fog was so dense.

I came to a grassy area and darted out of the mist and toward a parking lot. It was close to the shore. Not close enough, because she managed to graze me with a bullet. She had to have been running out by then. I busted in the window of a car door with my elbow (impossibility), got in, cranked it up, and sped off (complete impossibility).

I drove to the local grocery store to talk to Jay. (I don’t know why). I knew that he’d figure it out. But this store didn’t exist in my hometown. It was in this beach town, probably somewhere in Florida. Palm trees grew wild. But it was misty like northern beaches. I don’t know. I ran into the store, and I was convinced that she wouldn’t follow me in. There were security cameras and people everywhere.

Inside, the grocery store was identical to the one here. I stood by the bakery and talked to Jay. I showed him the relic, and he was clueless. He had no idea what I should have been doing, or what I could do to hide or get away. He did tell me one thing. This was a video game. If it was similar to Grand Theft Auto, then I wouldn’t die. I’d wake up at the local hospital or in my own bed at home, whichever was closer.

That was when I saw her and her thugs down the aisle. She lifted a rocket launcher. I stood there, wide-eyed, as Jay calmly stood is ground. She fired and I squeezed my eyes shut.

I woke up in the armchair back at the motel. Now, my family was there. I was so happy to see T.D. I had no idea what happened, but I was glad that it was over. Until someone called on the phone. I answered my Blackberry and it was the same man who gave me the instructions in the first scenario. Great, here we go again.

“We don’t have much time. You will find a package that contains a group of items. Try not to be suspicious, but hide them. And do everything you can to keep her from finding them.”

Her? The black-haired woman?

The doorbell rang. C.S. and my dad already seemed to have known. They coaxed T.D. outside with the box and instructed me to answer the door to distract her.

I opened the door, and it wasn’t the black-haired woman at all. It was a dark blonde woman. She was about my height (short), and much more stout than I am. She acted as if I was supposed to know her and invited herself in. She disregarded me entirely and surveyed the scene. T.D., C.S., and Dad were all back inside now, wrestling around as if that was what they were doing the whole time.

“Lovely,” she grumbled. “I shall require you to make accommodations.”

“Of course,” I answered, pretending that I had a clue as to what was going on. I pointed to the one bedroom door in the very back. She huffed her way down there.

I ran out of the door, and suddenly, the outside changed. It wasn’t outside anymore. I was in an upscale hotel. I ran down the hall, trying to find something I could use to distract her. I saw a spa, and ran in to make her an appointment. Through the mist, I saw her lying on a table, wrapped in white towels, with the whole spa get-up. She had the green mask on her face, and cucumbers on her eyes. She lifted a cucumber for just a second to see me and she said snootily, “Oh, I’ve already taken care of it. Don’t worry about lifting a precious finger.”

This was my opportunity. I knew I needed to hide the contents somewhere else. I jumped down the patio stairs again, and found several freshly dug patches of dirt. I used my hands to sift through it. It wasn’t really packed down. I uncovered these shining relics. One was a silver ornate, ceremonial knife, and the other was gold. One looked like a small scepter with a ball of onyx in the center. There were other tarnished gold relics buried with them that I couldn’t describe. Maybe crosses or other religious symbols? They were ornate, but encrusted with gunk.

I heard her voice in the distance and attempted to bury them even deeper. They were in too shallow of a hole, but I didn’t have a shovel. I clawed at the dirt with my hands, threw everything in the hole, and tried to cover it back up. There wasn’t enough dirt. It was still too shallow. And I started to panic.

End Dream.

I didn’t have enough time to sit down and do a dream analysis on it.  That’s what I’m working out right now, because after the chain of events yesterday, I need some answers.